Strolling through the Auto Show…

I only have a mild interest in cars but I try to keep up with what is happening in the industry, like that time I went on a rant on the whole Volkswagen Diesel scandal. Since the Midlands Auto Show happened to be this weekend, I figured it would be worth while to go and drop by.

Now obviously, it is a local event a not one of those International one you see in Detroit, so everything that was shown were intend for showcase what to expect to see in local dealerships. Since this is Nebraska, it was a lot of pickups and SUVs, and somewhat surprisingly performance cars.

At the show was also a selection of rare cars from private collectors that included a Ferrari, a Lotus Elise, a Mclaren and a couple Plymouth Superbirds.

There was also a couple charities stands and such at the back of the convention floor. You could sign up for a drawing to win a pickup truck, but if you read what it said on the form, you would see that it said that all your contact informations would be used for promotion purposes and that it’s phone operators can supersede all no-call/no-contact list. That’s a terrible deal! If you signed up there is nothing you can do to prevent telemarketers to call you and sending you promotional mail. I obviously did not sign up.

One of the other game/challenge you could is guess what was the make and model of a crushed car. It is a hard as it sounds, because it is hard to even tell which way the front of the car was. I have honestly no idea what it could have been. Maybe some sort of sedan?

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Overall, It was mildly interesting. I am not looking for new car and I don’t really like pickups and SUVs. It was cool to see some of the more elusive cars in person, like the BMW i8 or one of those SRT Dodge Challenger Hellcats. It was only nine dollars, so I think it was worth the visit.

The Big Short: a movie review…

It’s been a while since my last movie review, mostly because I have not seen a movie all that blog worthy. I could write about the latest Star wars but I still need to watch a second or third time to fully grasp how it fits with the rest of the movies. I recently re-watched the first three Mission Impossible movie, and there are a few things that I could write about. That being said I wanted to write about “The Big Short”, the movie based on the economic collapse of 2007-2008. I realize it came a while ago, but hey, I did not see it until last Sunday.

I would warn about spoilers and such but then again, if you hadn’t heard about the mortgage crisis that nearly destroyed the world’s economy, maybe you should go back to the rock you have been living under, for your own sake.

The movie’s premise might seem like a boring subject and suggest that it would be full of technical terms that you would need 2o years of banking experience to understand. It is actually quite the contrary. It is actually very educative and self aware. All the major technical aspect are explained in simple english via several celebrity cameos, such as Anthony Bourdain and Margot Robbie, and one of the characters frequently break the fourth wall to clarify certain aspects of the story.

What I find really disturbing about this movie is that everything they talk about actually happened. It’s like some kind some dark lovecraftian secret that will alter the way you look at the world forever. Some of the stuff that happen is so incredibly stupid, that I find it hard to believe that no had the common sense to do something about it. There is that brilliant scene were Steve Carell’s character and his associate go to florida to investigate whether or not there was a housing bubble. They go to a pair of mortgage brokers who are, for a lack of a better word, utterly unscrupulous but not necessarily in malevolent way but more in a incompetent way. They were the perfect stereotype of the sports Bro who took economic classes in college in  hope to create so ‘get rich quick’ scheme. truly terrifying that people would trust someone like them for such a big investment.

Another nightmare inducing fact shared by the movie was that there was that Credit rating agencies was essentially give away rating for fees because they didn’t want to lose business rather then actually verifying the content of what the banks were asking to rated. There was essentially no third party control on the risky investment the banks were doing. Even the SEC was apparently not paying attention to the banks because of budget cuts… truly terrifying. They even suggest that the banks realized what was about to happen in early 2007 and tried to sweep it under the rug before anyone found out.

I think it is one of those must see movie because it makes a great PSA about the dangers of uncontrolled investments and corporate greed. It would help raise awareness and help push for some reforms and prevent something similar in the future.

Black Sabbath: The End tour…

That was probably the best concert I have ever been to! Considering this was my first proper Heavy Metal concert, it’s actually not saying much… But it was still AWESOME!

I didn’t want to be late for the show, so rather than dropping by my apartment after work, I just went straight to downtown and parked directly at the centuryLink center. That allowed me to have a really nice parking spot that would give me an edge when leaving after the show. I bought the overpriced t-shirt and poster then went and grabbed a quick dinner at one of the local sports bar (which was an interesting experience of its own) before going to line up for entry. I was not the only one with that same idea.

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That’s was around 5:45, and that was nothing compared to how long it supposedly got…
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Who would bring a Hover board to a concert anyways?

I had a seat in the lower bowl of the arena, on the left side of the stage. The view was pretty good, probably better that a seat on the arena floor. The only thing was that seats are a bit cramped, though it ended not being a big problem.

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I got in very early. Like an hour and half early…

The opening band was Rival Sons, a group that I had never heard of before, though some of their songs sounded familiar. They were actually pretty good and I’ll probably buy one of their CDs. The guy they had on the keyboards had this rocking ZZTops style beard.

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And then it was time for the big show, the band everyone was waiting for: Black Sabbath! The moment the band showed up on stage, Everyone in the arena stood up and started cheering like crazy. The whole show was essentially a giant standing ovation, since no one sat back down during the one and a half show. The stage was not as extravagant as the one Trans-Siberian Orchestra had when they came back in 2015, but it was not necessary. The band was still kicking and rocking as hard as ever! The drummer they have for the tour is really energetic as well which really made the show in my opinion. Ozzy was hard to hear at time, his voice muffled by the sheer volume of the instrument, but he still sounded really good! Interestingly, Ozzy’s drink of choice that night was “Evian”.

Overall, It was definitely a once in life time experience for me, since I wasn’t born to see them Back in the days, and this will be their final tour (it’s called The End for a reason). I would strongly recommend getting your hands on tickets and see them at a concert because they are definitely worth the money.

M’s Pub Photos…

Like I mentioned in my last post, one of the most popular restaurant in Downtown Omaha recently went up in flames. As far as I know, it was due to a gas leak that occurred when a telecomm company were installing high speed fiber optic cable and accidentally hit a gas line. The building is still standing and covered in ice but is apparently unstable.

Now it was obviously MLK day yesterday, which gave us a nice three day weekend. Out of the three days, both Saturday and Monday would be relatively cold, but Sunday would be truly frigid, with temperature hitting negatives. Guess when I decided to go downtown? If you guessed Sunday, give yourself a pat on the back…

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That’s about 5˚F, before windchill…

Thankfully, I have adequate clothing for such temperatures, though I didn’t stay outdoors for more than maybe ten minutes at a time. The building is still partially covered in ice and the block around is fenced off and a couple police cars were parked nearby. I can only assume is to catch anyone trying to jump the fence or if the structure collapses. You can get a good idea of how heavy the ice was as part of the metal terrace roof has caved in at several spots.

Because it has been O so very cold and snowing recently, the streets and sidewalks have been covered with salt. I don’t mean a light coverage to prevent ice, but there was so much salt that you could could not see the actual pavement! I mean look at my shoes after maybe half an hour of walking around:

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They were sticking to the carpet as I walked back into my apartment. At least it is easy to clean, since it is just salt and is soluble. Pass your shoes under water and Bam! Salt gone! Ahh… Basic chemistry.

Anyways, tomorrow is January 20th, which means I am going to see Black Sabbath at the Century Link Center! Oh Yeah! That is going to be truly epic! That probably going to be my next post, so make sure to drop by in a couple days. In the meantime, I got to unbury my car from the snow…

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Forgetting to blog multiple times…

It’s been barely a couple weeks since 2016 started and yet so many things have happened! The weather is frigid,the Powerball jackpot broke records, The new food court opened at the mall, a building in downtown Omaha Burned down, one of the office’s elevator caught fire!

At first, a couple weekends ago, I wanted to write about how cold it got recently around here. The residence lake was pretty much frozen solid a couple week ago. How do I know? I literally went and stood on it

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Yes, it was probably not one of my brightest idea, and I probably won’t be trying that stunt any time soon. There was also quite a bit of ice accumulation around the building as well, like on this drain:

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But then I got a bit lazy and the Powerball story started to blow up. So I though it would be more interesting to write about that and maybe about how to calculate the odds of winning.

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Pictured: my second Powerball ticket

It was the first time I ever bought, and for a simple reason, the chances of winning the jackpot, or any significant sum of money, is pretty much nonexistent. I though it would fun to simply join in for the occasion, and obviously I didn’t win anything.

The number of unique possible Powerball combinations

It was to be expected but ultimately I doubt I’ll be buying lottery tickets on the regular. Since the odds have worsen, it is possible that the jackpot reach high amount again in the next few drawing. If it reach 600 to 700 million, maybe I’ll buy another ticket, just for fun. Besides, You can’t win if you don’t try.

It’s now the weekend of January 9th, and I remembered of something that was worth writing about: The Westroads mall new food court. The old food court was like one you could find in any other mall: a dozen fast food stands with a sitting area in the middle. Sometime in late 2014/early 2015, work began on a new food court for the mall. Except, that instead of simply moving the junk food stand to the new location, new “edgier” food stands would open instead. The food court would even have its own edgy name: Flagship Commons.

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If you live in New York or Near by, you might have heard of a new trend of food court like the Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen and “Le District” by the new World Trade center. The Flagship commons is essentially the same, a group of fancier, made to order food options, with the seating area being a lot of longer communal tables and more of industrial/rustic design.

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It’s pretty cool but ultimately suffers the same problem as the ones in New York: it’s very popular. Even during what I would consider off periods, it is hard to find somewhere to sit. I hope that that crowds will slow as the novelty wears off but if the raising popularity of the ones in New York, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

And then Monday rolled along and I totally forgot about everything again. You know how Mondays can be right? The moon could have disappeared and none could have realized it. What caught my attention however was what happened when I arrived to the office.

I had just parked my car and was making my way to the building’s front door when large groups of people started coming out. There was apparently a fire alarm, and it wasn’t an exercise.

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Apparently, one of the elevator caught fire and three people got stuck. There hasn’t been any official release about the incident, so that is pure speculation. One thing I know for sure is that the fire alarm actually went of twice, and both time an announcement was made to say it was a false alarm, before a third announcement said it was actually an actual an emergency… Well done whoever was in charge of that…

Just to make sure there was something for me to write about, I learned the same day that one of the building in downtown Omaha, in the Old Market, went up in flames! Now that exciting! And because the firefighters had to deal with fire in the frigid weather, the building in now completely covered with thick layers of ice! I don’t have pictures yet but hopefully I’ll be able to drop by downtown this weekend and get pictures, and figure out what is and isn’t open.

So yeah, that was the contrived story about stuff I wanted to write about and kept forgetting. My memory is best memory…

2016!

Happy New year!! Yaay!!

I said I would write before the end of the year in my last post but I guess i got lazy. Not that I really had anything better to do and it was like 10˚ outside. Ohh well…

The weather here has quite has gotten pretty chili and we got ton of snow last Monday and the Thursday before. Driving in snow was interesting to say the least. It almost felt relaxing, since there is almost no one on the road, and the few people driving go really slowly. I also had the foresight of getting winter tires installed, which probably made a big difference.

In the way of new year resolutions, I came up with a handful of simple one I should be able to stick to. I’ll try to continue to lose weight, not crash my car, not get fired from my job, go to the gym, and start training for half-marathons. That last one is probably the most ambitious but I am pretty confident in my ability to run for twi and half hour straight… Also three of my resolution pretty much and overlap nicely.

Not much else to say so far this year. Have good one!